Senate to convene; House could act as soon as Thursday, April 23rd.
The White House and Congress have agreed on a new pandemic relief plan providing funds for a tapped-out small business aid program and aid for coronavirus testing and overwhelmed hospitals. President Donald Trump said he’d sign the measure and begin discussions on a next round of stimulus.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed the agreement.
The Senate is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday for a pro forma session, and the measure could be approved then if text is completed and all senators agree to approve it by unanimous consent. If that happens, a House vote as soon as Thursday is expected, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced early Tuesday.
“We do have a deal, and I believe we will pass it this afternoon at 4 p.m.,” Schumer said on CNN. “They are still dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, but every major issue was resolved.”
McCarthy, appearing later on Fox News, said, “There is a deal that is done.”
Trump in a tweet urged Congress to approve the package, adding, “After I sign this Bill, we will begin discussions on the next Legislative Initiative with fiscal relief to State/Local Governments for lost revenues” and other spending.
The new package would replenish the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, which was part of the $2 trillion stimulus approved late last month and ran out of money last week. Passage would allow the government to take new applicants for the program, which provides forgivable loans to small business that keep employees on the payroll for eight weeks.
The basic outline of the plan was announced Sunday: In addition to the PPP funding, it was to include $75 billion for hospitals, with a significant portion aimed at those in rural areas; and $25 billion for virus testing.